Fields of Margraten

GETUIGENVERHALEN.NL

 

Realisation project:

Ruim Kader Films, Regionaal Historisch Centrum Limburg  © (2010)

REGIONAAL HISTORISCH CENTRUM LIMBURG

 

Time frame: 1944-1948
Location: Margraten
Number of interviews: 43

 

Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog

DANS: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.17026/DANS-ZBA-AHPJ

 

Website:

Akkers van Mangraten.nl

 

 

 

 

In September 1944, American soldiers of the 30th Infantry Division of the First American Army liberate South Limburg. To the amazement of local farmers, a month later the first fallen Americans were buried in their fields near Margraten. No one could then have guessed that soon after, more than twenty thousand crosses and Stars of David would be stuck in the mud on one of the largest European war cemeteries. In November 1944, the Ninth American Army officially took over the cemetery. The Dutch government had previously taken ownership of the land and then, out of respect and gratitude, made it available to the United States for all eternity. Germans and Russians have also been buried in the American military cemetery. At present there are still 8,301 American graves in Margraten. 

 

As part of this oral history project, eyewitnesses of the war in Margraten will speak out, and more specifically, people who saw with their own eyes how the war cemetery was laid out. Never before have eyewitnesses to the construction of the military cemetery told of their experiences. Many Dutch eyewitnesses mention the many black Americans who were involved in the construction of the cemetery and had to perform heavy work in harsh weather conditions.